Richard North, 04/05/2004  
 

Source: Irish Times

No, it has not been abandoned – but the Irish are issuing a new draft today, which makes earlier copies obsolete. Page numbers and references will be all wrong.

The draft is expected to incorporate changes agreed informally before last December's IGC summit collapsed, but it also introduces a number of new elements, including a reference to the equality of member-states and a suggestion that the EU could initiate action against smoking and alcohol abuse.

It is hoped that the new draft will narrow down the areas of disagreement before the formal resumption of talks among foreign ministers in a fortnight, but there are no new proposals on the most contentious issues - the size and composition of the Commission and the definition and scope of qualified majority voting.

The Irish presidency stressed that it was a working document to facilitate consensus rather than a formal presidency proposal, which means that this is far from being the final draft, especially as more than 30 issues remain unresolved.






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